The Kimberley Dynamiters are heading into the holiday break on a six-game winning streak after defeating the Columbia Valley Rockies 6-3 and the Nelson Leafs 4-2 this weekend.
The Nitros opened the weekend with a game against the Rockies on Friday. In an ongoing trend, the team gave up the first goal of the game and headed into the first intermission down 2-1.
“That was not a good start at all — that was exactly what I was worried about — they were not ready to go,” said general manager and head coach Derek Stuart. “They thought it was going to be an easy game because Columbia Valley is struggling at the moment. As [they] saw, Columbia Valley is a very worthy opponent.”
It took until just after the midway point of the second period for the Dynamiters to tie the game with Nolan Kurylo’s second goal of the game. The play that changed the game was when Caige Sterzer busted in and scored an individual effort goal with under a minute left.
“I thought Sterzer’s goal was the turning point for us,” Stuart said. “He did everything we have asked —he drove to the net, protected the puck, made a great move . . . it really was, in my opinion, the momentum shifter.”
In the third frame, the Dynamiters added to their lead, as newcomers Joe Karpyshyn and Nic Herringer scored their first goals as Dynamiters to give the Nitros a 5-3 lead. Herringer would then score his second goal as the Dynamiters doubled the Rockies 6-3.
Stuart was impressed with the play of the two new forwards, and both feel that they have adjusted well to being on the team.
“It felt good to finally get one,” Herringer said. “The first couple of games I was just feeling it out, came close. It feels good, good to help out.”
“I felt pretty good out there,” Karpyshyn said. “Felt like I was shaking the dust off because I haven’t played in about two weeks. It was a good first for me.”
Cody Call also made his first start in goal as a Dynamiter and made 32 saves for the win.
“I thought he did great. After he settled in, I thought he was phenomenal,” Stuart said. “He made some outstanding saves. To be honest, I thought he kept us in the game for quite awhile in the second period — he made some highlight reel saves.”
“It was a little nerve-racking, [I had] some pre-game jitters,” Call said of his debut. “Once I got the first shot out of the way I knew the boys had my back [and] once we got rolling I knew we had it in the bag.”
The Dynamiters then shifted their focus to the Nelson Leafs on Saturday, a team that has been just as hot as the Nitros, before they got to go on their holiday break.
The Leafs opened the scoring, as former Nitro and current Leafs captain, Sawyer Hunt found the back of the net.
It took until the middle frame when the Dynamiters were being outshot 21-7, for the Nitros to get on the board. Matt Davies got the first goal, followed by Kurylo and Lucas Purdy.
“We had to remind them that we were not the team we were showing them in the first 40 minutes. [We] reminded them of the two alumni (Jared Marchi and Ryan Bennato) that were [being] honored tonight, and reminded them of how hard they played every time they suited up.
“I thought in the third period they came out and played like we [know they] can. If we would have done that all game, we would have been in good shape for the entire 60 minutes.”
In the last period, the Nitros outshot the Leafs 21-2, and Franco Colapaolo added a fourth goal, as they doubled their opponent for the second game in a row 4-2.
“[It] was a pretty new experience for me,” said Purdy, who scored the eventual game-winner. “I’m not a big goal scorer, so it [was] pretty nice.
“We came out a little slow,” he added. “But we finished it off and got the win, and that’s all that really matters.”
Cody Campbell made 31 saves, taking the Nitros into the holiday break on a six-game winning streak.
“I think the results were definitely great. For the most part, we executed how we wanted to [and] we got the results we wanted,” Stuart said. “Going into the [holiday], we’re just looking forward to a break [and] to refocus with the back-to-back with Fernie when we get back.”
With the pair of wins, the Dynamiters added to their stellar home record which now sits at 16-1-0-0. The team returns to action on December 28 to play the Ghostriders at the Civic Centre.
MATCH STICKS: Caige Sterzer and Harrison Risdon have been named to the KIJHL Top Prospects game on January 14th in Kelowna. Alumni Jared Marchi had his number retired Saturday against Fernie.
For up-to-date Kimberley Dynamiter information visit: www.kimberleydynamiters.net/blog. Also follow Josh on twitter @joshuaklockhart.